Delicious stories, food and travel inspiration

Delicious stories, food and travel inspiration

How to blog about food: useful tips for new, emerging & aspiring bloggers

If you’re a new, emerging or aspiring food blogger, you’ll have lots of questions that need answers.

I know because I am an emerging food blogger myself. I started The Hungry Australian in June 2011 but didn’t start blogging more frequently until September 2011.

While I’d managed websites for previous employers, worked as an editor and freelance writer, I had no experience of blogging itself. Prior to starting my own blog I barely knew what a food blog was.

So why did I start my own food blog? A conversation with my good friend Kerina stimulated my interest and once I started reading them I was hooked. I felt like I did when I started university and discovered the university newspaper produced by the students: I wanted to be part of it.

As I began blogging I had lots of questions. How did I get people to comment on my posts? What should I write about? Do I need a decent camera? How did I make a header on my site? What are plugins and widgits? How do I get that ‘more’ symbol on my posts so people have to click through? How do I create a collage of photos?

And the big question: how did the rockstar food bloggers – i.e. David Lebovitz, Deborah from Smitten Kitchen, Jaden from Steamy Kitchen, Ree from The Pioneer Woman, Matt from Matt Bites, Elise from Simply Recipes, Heidi from 101 Cookbooks, Shauna from Gluten Free Girl, and Bakerella – get where they are?

So I started looking for articles and posts that could help me. I found so many useful articles I started compiling a list, which lived on my site for a while as ‘Resources for Food Bloggers’. I’ve now decided to turn that page into this post, along with my top tips. You can scroll to the end of this post for my 100 Useful Links for Foodbloggers list.

With only eight months of food blogging under my belt I am still finding my feet. However, I have picked up some knowledge along the way and am more than happy to share it. So, for what it’s worth, here it is.

8 Tips for New, Emerging and Aspiring Food Bloggers

1) Create a content strategy

Consciously decide what your blog is going to be about. In the beginning you might write about anything food-related that comes your way – recipes, reviews, events, books etc. This is fine – it’s a good way to work out what you do like writing about, what you’re good at and how long posts take to create. After a while though, it’s worth stepping back and deciding in which direction you want to go – think of it as doing one or two things really well rather than trying to do a bit of everything badly.

Deciding on a content strategy also makes it easier to build a dedicated readership because people know what to expect when they visit your site. Helen from Sydney blog Grab Your Fork specialises in restaurant reviews, Jennifer from Brisbane’s Delicieux promotes herself as a “sweet-toothed vegetarian” and Amanda from local blog Lambs Ears and Honey focuses on writing stories about where food comes from. Stephanie from Raspberri Cupcakes in Sydney has an amazing baking blog while food photography nuts regularly check in with What Katie Ate, Souvlaki for the Soul, Citrus and Candy and A Table for Two for drool-worthy food porn.

2) Produce the best writing you can

What story are you trying to tell? If you don’t know, the reader certainly won’t be able to work it out. Decide what you want to say and then cut everything from your story that doesn’t actually add to it.

Once you’ve written your draft post, go over it carefully, looking for any mis-spelt words or awkward sentences. Editing will really make your story. I can’t emphasise this enough. If you’re not a strong writer then there are a few things you can do to improve: 1) Read as much as possible; 2) Write as much as possible; and 3: buy a style guide, editing guide and dictionary.

3) Invest in a digital SLR

We eat with our eyes so gorgeous photographs are a must for most food blogs. Buy a DSLR and learn how to use it – don’t just keep it on the automatic setting. Do a course, read books, watch tutorials on Youtube, and practise as much as you can. Learn how to edit your photos to make them as gorgeous as possible.

Bad food photography is a real turn off and I write this knowing that there are many photographs on my blog that make me cringe.

4) Schedule your content

I am only starting to do this now and I think it’s going to make a big difference. If you decide that you wish to blog maybe once, twice or thrice a week, draw up a calendar. Plan what you’re going to blog about on each date and schedule time into your diary to prepare your posts. It’s a great way to ensure you’re blogging in a balanced, consistent and regular way. You’ll never get stuck for ideas again, either.

By the way, if you’re trying to establish yourself, I think you have to blog a minimum of once a week, thrice, ideally.

5) Good design counts

I read a lot of food blogs and I generally decide within a minute or so whether a new blog I’ve come across is one I’m going to keep visiting. For me, bad design is a real turn off. It doesn’t matter how good the writing is, if the site is poorly designed or overly busy I probably won’t visit again.

In my own case I am currently in the process of redesigning my blog to make it much cleaner. I want all the attention to be on the words and photographs with minimal distractions.

6) Share the love

Food bloggers are constantly inspired by other people’s work. Acknowledge all your sources of inspiration and link back wherever possible. Create a blogroll or ‘favourite sites’ section on your blog to promote other food bloggers you like.

Visit other food blogs and leave thoughtful comments on posts that speak to you. In most cases, the blogger will be curious about who you are and check out your site.

7) Don’t steal

Do not publish material, recipes or photographs from other blogs or sites without permission, full credit and a link back to the original site; publishing without permission and proper acknowledgement is stealing. You have your own magnificent imagination so use it to create your own original work.

8) Commercial vs non-commercial

As you become more established as a food blogger you will to start to receive approaches from advertising and PR companies, restaurants, producers, markets, and chefs interested in promoting themselves on your blog. You may be sent press releases, invitations and samples.

This attention is flattering and you may be tempted to accept every offer, approach and invitation that comes your way. However, spend some time thinking about what type of blog you want to create and what type of content you would be proud to publish.

Will you accept advertising? If so, what kind of advertising? Will you write sponsored blog posts? Will you do giveaways or promotions? How much will you charge? How much is your time (and blog profile) worth?

Bloggers like Jennifer from Jenius, George from The Foodologist and Lorraine from Not Quite Nigella write sponsored blog posts for companies – that is, they accept payment from suitable companies to write about their products. Others, like Brian from Fitzroyalty, are fiercely non-commercial and do not carry any form of advertising.

There is no right or wrong way to do it. You must decide what is right for you.

If you are going to have advertising and sponsorship on your blog you should disclose all commercial relationships and conflicts of interest clearly and transparently. People aren’t stupid, and food blogging and food industry circles are extremely tight. Post a positive review without disclosing a conflict of interest and you leave yourself open to accusations of deception. Is that really how you want to be known and remembered?

Personally, I am extremely particular about who I partner with; I turn down 90% of approaches. I also make it clear to PR companies who want to send me samples and invitations that they are welcome to do so as long as they understand that I only write about things I like and do not guarantee a review. I maintain 100% editorial control of my site.

Well, that’s it from me. But please do comment below and let me know what works for you. I’d love to hear your suggestions.

Now scroll down for 100 useful articles by some of the best bloggers and writers in the business.

100 Useful Links for Food Bloggers

Resources

General Tips

Ethics, Freebies, Sponsorship and Advertising

Writing – General Tips

Writing – Restaurant Reviewing

Writing – Recipes

Food Photography – Gear, Lighting & Equipment

Food Photography – Food & Prop Styling

Food Photography – General Tips

Food Photography – Post Processing

Marketing – Building an Audience

Marketing – Social Media

Monetisation

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  • http://www.thegreatuncooking.com.au Natalie Prigoone

    Thanks for your article. I stumbled upon you today by accident, because I wanted to model myself on attractive blogs. I love your photographs and advice. I’ve just written my first food book and took all the photos on my iphone. Even though at times I had an SLR on hand, I found the best camera was the one that was nearby. This turned out to be my iphone. But maybe I need to up my game. So much learning to do. I think I’m loving styling and photographing the food more then inventing raw food recipes. But as for the technical website mumbo jumbo…. aaahhh, lets just say I’m glad it’s Christmas tomorrow and I have a forced rest. Now, back to read more advice on your blog.Merry Christmas! http://www.thegreatuncooking.com

    • http://hungryaustralian.com Christina Soong

      Belated thanks, Natalie. I’m glad you found it helpful. I hope you had a good Christmas break.

  • http://traffood.com/keyword-research-for-food-bloggers/ Azedine

    Hey Christina,

    You got a Golden list of resources for food bloggers, do you mind adding my guide http://traffood.com/seo-for-food-bloggers/ to the list ? Either way keep up the great job. Cheers

    • http://hungryaustralian.com Christina Soong

      I’m afraid I prefer to keep this post as it is to reflect the time at which it was written. Thanks, Azedine.

  • Pingback: Bloggers and brands: why we’re (mostly) doing it wrong | The Hungry Australian()

  • https://caviarlover.com/ caviar

    It’s look nice it’s very yummmy an i love it

  • Tiffany Sun

    Hey Christina!

    Your food pictures are so vibrant! And love the way you write. They both match really well on your blog post.

    After reading your article, I’m more inspired to write a food blog myself! And I’m curious to know, which blog sites do you recommend using? Can’t wait to hear back from you :D

    • http://hungryaustralian.com Christina Soong

      Apologies for my late response. Thanks for your kind words re my blog. Do you mean blogging platforms? I use self-hosted WordPress. Good luck!

  • food

    I really fascinated by this excellent about this blog thanks for such a wonderful blog cristina good job

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  • http://www.kelvinholidays.com Kelvin Holidays

    Great tips to start a food blog and its give information step by step.

    Food Blog

  • David Sunday

    Thank you very much for the links you’ve listed here. There are quite helpful. Lots of help tips about cooking

  • Pingback: FAQs: tips for aspiring and emerging bloggers | The Hungry Australian()

  • http://www.heatherfrew.com Heather

    Having just set up my blog last week, this was very interesting to read. Thank you for sharing your knowledge!! Heather

  • Cooking My Dreams

    I started my blog over a year ago but I’m still having troubles raising it to the next level. This post is really helpful, especially the links part. It’s nice to finally have all the helpful resources in one post! Thank you so much for sharing it!

  • N K

    Wow!! Thank you so much, I know this is an old poset, but just as relevant today… I love the point of making a schedule & deciding what to write about. Thanks a lot :-)

    • http://www.hungryaustralian.com/ The Hungry Australian

      You’re most welcome. Glad you found it helpful.

  • Designer Esra

    Thank you so much for all the useful tips and links

    • http://hungryaustralian.com Christina Soong

      You’re most welcome. Glad you found them helpful :)

  • http://thisdayandforever.com/ Alexander Rothschild

    Here’s a free comprehensive step-by-step 72-lesson course on setting up a cooking blog. If you are ready to start one, it’s a must read. http://likeabossguides.unikurn.com/start-a-cooking-blog/

  • Restaurant Near Me

    This is one of the finest list i have ever read read. Checkout (Top 10 Healthy Restaurant Near You with Location Map)

  • http://www.yarraweb.com.au/ Patrick O’Doherty

    Successful blogging requires not only quality content but intelligent promotion as well. Read practice-tested tips, proven to be fruitful, and which can lead to immediate positive effects on your Google rankings: http://www.yarraweb.com.au/948/no-one-reading-your-blog-then-do-this/

  • The Digital Guy

    Hey Christina, Awesome list. I would like to add http://www.cucumbertown.com to this list. Its much easier to start a food blog and jump start your traffic with Cucumbertown.

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    yes.i think this is the best blog.which teach us how to cook. cook food is very useful.as the delicious food can give us energy and good mood.i will learn the cook .and make good food to share with my family member and friends.if you have any good idea. please tell me.you can connect with me for air max shoes

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